Song Review: ITZY – Not Shy

ITZY’s Icy came on shuffle the other day, and I couldn’t believe how funky it sounded. It had been months since I’d last heard it, and the time away made the whole track feel more massive than I remembered. I mention this because it seems as though new single Not Shy is striving to replicate that rhythmic appeal. It’s a turning point for the girls, enlisting a team of new producers and capitalizing on the girl crush trend that ITZY themselves helped popularize. In this way, the track feels like it’s chasing its own tail. One year later, ITZY are starting to sound like everyone else.

Not Shy continues to thrive on the sense of attitude that’s fueled ITZY’s discography thus far. There are plenty of fun moments to be found. The chorus – as simple as it is – has a lot of potential. I’ll never be a fan of chanted hooks, but ITZY steer clear of the grating aegyo to land a sharper punch. However, Not Shy’s irritating instrumental does the song no favors. The combination of trap beats and chopped brass does not make for a very compelling backbone. The production needs a fuller sound – more bass and less tinny percussion. The central groove is fine, but imagine how cool it might have sounded if driven by bass guitar and interesting synth rather than trap. Even its dance break is oddly muted – at least when it comes to ITZY singles.

Right from the start, Not Shy clobbers the listener with a frantic energy. This retreats a bit for the verse, though there’s too much “ra ta ta ta ta” sing-talk during these segments for me. This isn’t a melodic track at all, and that’s okay. However, it could really do with at least one big, anthemic hook. Icy had that fantastic pre-chorus. Dalla Dalla and Wannabe’s choruses soared. Too much of Not Shy feels like the connective tissue between these bigger moments. When we never reach those expected climaxes, the result can’t help but be a little disappointing.

 Hooks 8
 Production 7
 Longevity 8
 Bias 8
 RATING 7.75



39 thoughts on “Song Review: ITZY – Not Shy

    • Don’t Give A What (the credits song) is both stronger overall and fits more directly in the Dalla Dalla/Wannabe lineage, except with more Avril Lavigne. I’m genuinely surprised they went with this one as title track. Really, this has been the day of comebacks outclassed by their b-sides, which is not something I expected from either Itzy or Dreamcatcher.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Very understandable review and i totally agree. The song doesn’t have any shining factor for me, however i sort of find chaeryeongs “ITZEEEH” to be the most memorable element.

    Im not sure if it’s just me, but you sound rather optimistic today.

    Oh and will Dreamcatchers “Can’t get you out of my mind” be on Buried Treasure? Or is that too EDM for you 😣

    Liked by 2 people

  2. This song is alright. It’s not nearly as impressive as their title tracks of the past, and Not Shy honestly gives me B-side vibes for a group like ITZY. ITZY’s title tracks in the past are, in my opinion, far more memorable than this one.

    One thing I really do like about this group, and this song, is their ability to convey a lot of attitude in their music. Not Shy doesn’t stray from that, which is good. That kind of attitude makes this song fun for me, even if it’s not as amazing as Dalla Dalla or Wannabe. They don’t try to be something they’re not and I hope they never try. I can’t imagine someone like Yeji or Ryujin trying to be cutesy.

    So yeah I don’t hate the song. It’s just not the kind of soundscape that I’m used to hearing from an ITZY title track, but it is still definitely an ITZY song. I just hope that their image doesn’t grow tiresome over time, because I’m not sure how many more comebacks they can make with the same “don’t give a damn” attitude.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree about the soundscape. Dalla Dalla was packed with interesting sounds that aren’t overused. The deep flute synth. The elevator bell (or desk bell). The sampled vocal “ah oh-way oh-way”. The occasional tic toc touch. High harmonies on just enough lines. Then “Icy” took the vocal sampled synth further, paired with a strong bass. What prevented those songs from sounding like a BP and/or G-idle song is all those little touches and choices here and there. The fail here with this song is the production, not the girl’s performance.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Don’t forget Wannabe–that intro is amazing, with the wind-up doll sounds building up tension until the classic ITZY house sound breaks through on the verse. The production quality on their previous title tracks are quite good, so I was a little disappointed here.

        It’s a shame because the rest of the album is great. I felt the same way with Twice’s album back in June; the title track is arguably the weakest both there and here.


  3. Man, this song has everything; the catchy hooks, beautiful melody, and somehow a nice pacing and arrangement also. But it had to be the instrumental that brought it down; it was like they really tried to make the trap beats work very well, only to end up being the downfall of all.

    Seriously, the song is weak, a bummer since their past tracks were strong and solid. I only survived listening to it because of the hook, yet that alone cannot save the song as a whole.


  4. No! Is trap reviving in K-pop? We were soooooooo close!!
    This sounds like something Blackpink and G-idle would make if they collaborated and that’s really not a compliment!
    After giving us 3 amazing singles , they just dropped down?
    This has happened to ONF , Ateez and Now Itzy?
    Can anybody give us a consistent single run?

    I was so excited about MCND and after seeing this , I’ll keep to myself:

    I hope 2021 will be better than 2020 , I think it will be the best year we had since 2016.

    I don’t know why probably because of the fact I made a dumb theory:
    replace the 1 and 2

    And 2012 was the best year in all of K-pop!



    • The irony of this statement is ridiculous. Blackpink always have the drop but it’s generally catchy, though I wasn’t mad about it in How You Like that- it didn’t fit the rest of the song. (G)-Idle only had the drop in Oh My God- which was definitely too mature and risque for anything Teen Crush Itzy could pull off. No drops in Dumdi Dumdi or Lion, for example. This comeback was weak for Itzy but don’t offend two other groups by saying it sounds like something they’d produce if they collaborated. Every Idle comeback sounds different anyway, so you can’t really call it.


      • Itzy and G idle have almost the same personality for me , I have seen almost same attitude in how they represent their songs😃

        Same with Blackpink

        difference is Itzy always represent their attitude with a more different color


  5. The vocals, even though very few shining moments, were really good and Lia finally was able to sing in her range. The past three songs all at extremely memorable choruses or killing parts, but Not Shy sounds like a generic song that Itzy put their own flare on. I find it quite bland with both the song and the choreo, but the rest of the album was AMAZING with songs like ID, Surf, and Be In Love really showing what they can do with melodic tracks. Itzy needs to go back to their production team Galactika because they know how to make a banging instrumental with hooks and a dance break.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Man, I hadn’t actually paid attention to the teasers so I heard the intro and was like, fuck yeah, we’re gonna get TWO rock-infused girl group comebacks in one day (I mean, rock isn’t a totally new sound for Itzy, Wannabe was great).

    Instead we got… this. It could’ve been a lot worse, the chorus doesn’t devolve into weak sing-talking which could’ve made it worse, but this feels strangely lifeless for an Itzy single. Even though I don’t like Icy as much as everyone else does, I at least appreciate and respect the attitude. This just feels tired. High 7s for me, rating is about right.


  7. Very mediocre track. For real though, I feel like the song was kind of empty??? I only remember a couple of parts like “itzyyyy” and “not shy not me” maybe because that’s the only thing I could understand? But I also find the song a bit lacking because it seems like the chorus was repeating way too much for verse 1, verse 2 and verse 3. The flow of the song to me didn’t felt good and I didn’t really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Damn I actually really liked this one lol especially the vocal-heavy bridge. Is there gonna be a buried treasure for the album? I think this mini is the strongest one they’ve ever put out, especially iD and Surf, and the guitars on Don’t Give a What are chefs kiss

    They keep picking killer songwriters and arrangers for their albums (I’m so here for Kenzie and LDN Noise)

    Liked by 2 people

      • I know people like to complain about Itzy’s title tracks and concepts (though I find Itzy sticking to their guns for the most part a positive) but lowkey Itzy’s now the new album artist girl group after f(x) vacated their throne

        Surf is the LDN Noise song btw

        Liked by 1 person

  9. I was really surprised with this. It feels more like I’m listening to a new group that is trying to cut-copy-paste some of the past year’s most popular groups, particularly g-idle, Blackpink, and ITZY themselves rather than sounding like an actual ITZY title track. Even when I watched the showcase, the girls don’t seem half as enthused by this than their previous title tracks and it comes through during their performance. Luckily they have enough a dedicated fan base who will love this regardless or be willing to give it a pass. I just hope their next comeback gives us ITZY as innovators instead of ITZY cloning ITZY and trends to lesser results.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m surprised that it seems like it’s only me who really likes the song,
    One major benefit I think was that I was not confused and/or scared when listening to the song for the first time like I was for Dalla Dalla and Icy.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. It’s a solid song, it just pales a little in comparison to all the other singles they’ve released, which really makes you realized how strong they’ve been so far. Wannabe will likely be the ITZY single that is most representative of their 2020 and the one that people will remember more, so I’m hoping this one becomes more of a grower that would fit right in alongside Icy or other Itzy-influenced songs that’ve been released this year (Bouncy etc.)


  12. Noone is gonna talk about the grating high pitch “toot” sound repeating all over the second part of the chorus ? It’s so annoyingly loud and I can’t listen to it with earphones on. Got to say, it works great for an alarm ringtone. Don’t you just hate it when kpop groups try new producers for a change but it doesn’t work ?


  13. Not gonna lie, this entire hip-hop (ish) song they got reminds me of past GOT7 Japan. (The New Era, Turn Up) the trap background solidifies that. also they’ve put a real bridge (as opposed to the cool instrumental break of Wannabe) to appease the “lack of {decent} vocal parts in ITZY songs” problem – but then that sacrificed the hooks that made them stand out against the other girl crush songs.


    • Yes, the company that does the polling recently started charging monthly for the service. And given the relatively small percentage of my readers who use the polls, I didn’t think it was worth paying the fee.

      If there’s a different service that’s free/inexpensive and compatible with WordPress, I’d certainly be open to bringing them back.


      • I don’t know if this helps, but on my blog, I use a website called Opinion Stage.
        It might not be what you’re looking for, but I think it’s worth checking out.


  14. This song is proof that having a formula for your song isn’t always bad. Am rooting for ‘Don’t Give A What’ or ‘iD’ (even though I hate the trap bits, I like the chorus and how it at least attempts to have a “retro vibe” at the start)


  15. Nothing really pops up to me as a casual listener, also not a devout kpop listener, but I kinda enjoy in a way that this song is so pumping out of the blue. For me it just another dance song from ITZY. But like you said there’s potential cluttering all over the place. maybe the ‘team’ is trying craving a new direction. Btw, 7 is too generous.


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